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With basic food basket rising above inflation, poverty increases in Argentina

Inflation is a chronic problem in Argentina, and the prices of the basic food basket show that it is a drama that hits the lower income population much harder.

The monthly survey carried out by the National Institute of Statistics and Censuses (Indec) showed that in April the value of the basic food basket rose 51, 4% in Greater Buenos Aires compared to the same month last year.

This is higher than the general inflation accumulated in 60 months in Argentina, which was 58% last month, the biggest advance interannual since January 1992.

The value of the total basic food basket in Greater Buenos Aires, which also considers prices of goods and services not related to food, such as clothing, transport, education and health, rose 51, 3% in one year.

Indec draws the line of indigence and poverty in Argentina according to the value of the basic food basket in the capital and surroundings: those with income below the basic food basket are in indigence, and those who earn below the total basic food basket are in poverty.

For an adult, the indigence threshold in April was

.763 pesos (about BRL

) and poverty, in 30.829 pesos (just under BRL 1,300). For a family of four, the levels were respectively 51.527 (little less than BRL 1.8 thousand) and 95.260 pesos (almost BRL 4 thousand) .

At the end of 2021, the values ​​of both baskets decelerated and the proportion of Argentines living in poverty was 2021 , 7% and in indigence, 8.2%, bad results, but better than expected. However, there is a consensus among economists that these numbers will get worse until the end of 2022.

Agustín Salvia, director of the Social Debt Observatory at the Catholic University of Argentina (UCA) ), highlighted in an interview with the newspaper La Nación that there is already less influence from factors that improved the data in the second half of last year, such as salary increases in the civil service and in the formal private sector and updating of retirements and pensions.

“Although there are public works, with the generation of jobs in construction and in some services related to consumption, the inflationary dynamic cancels the capacity to generate new jobs. In order for poverty not to increase, wages must be raised above 60%, but this only happens in some formal sectors. Informal workers and the self-employed are the most affected”, argued the specialist.

Economist Leo Tornarolli pointed out that in the first four months inflation in Argentina was 2021 ,1%, but the increases in the total basic food basket (25,1%) and food (29%) in Greater Buenos Aires were bigger. ” , the first half of 2022 will almost certainly show a significant increase in poverty and indigence,” he wrote on Twitter.

In a study published on the Torcuato Di University website Tella, economist Martín González-Rozada estimated that the poverty rate for the semester between November 2021 and April 2022 would be 39,1%. “This means that about 40% of people live in poor households”, he lamented.

This month, Kirchnerist deputies introduced a bill to create a universal basic salary in Argentina. “The universal basic salary aims to eliminate indigence in Argentina, reduce poverty, value tasks that the labor market does not value or devalue, and redistribute income,” said deputy Itaí Hagman, in a statement reproduced by the Efe agency.

Left social organizations recently carried out a “federal march” in which, in addition to criticizing the Argentine agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), they demanded the adoption of a base salary equivalent to the value of the basic food basket. .

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